ICL: Indian Cricket League

PCB chief says central contracts will be fiercely competitive


The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will ignore players’ ‘star value’ while awarding them central contracts later this month, PCB chief Nasim Ashraf said on Friday.

“We intend to make the central contracts fiercely competitive and a player will have to earn his place in the list regardless of his past status,” Ashraf told ‘The News’ in an interview. The PCB is set to award central contracts to 20 odd players later this month. The top board officials are currently finalising the list that would be submitted to the PCB’s Governing Board which is set to meet on January 25 in Karachi.

Ashraf said that the contracts would be awarded on the basis of a formula devised by the PCB last year. The formula was aimed at making the central contracts more performance-based rather than the previous system that gave more points to the seniority of a player.

“Last June we awarded central contracts without fully applying that formula but now we have a data of our players’ performance in the last six months and the new contracts would be based on it,” he said.

The national selection committee has recommended 30 odd players for the central contracts but the PCB will trim the list to around 20-22 players before presenting it to the Governing Board.

The central contracts and a host of other issues were thoroughly discussed by the PCB think-tank at the board headquarters in Lahore on Thursday and Friday. Ashraf chaired the meetings which attended by Shafqat Naghmi, PCB’s COO, Zakir Khan, Pakistan team manager Talat Ali, national selectors, NCA coaches and other PCB officials.

“We had a lot of brain-storming during the last couple of days and would continue doing that tomorrow (Saturday),” said the PCB chairman. “The main purpose (of the meetings) was to find ways to improve team spirit and unity among our players,” he added.

Ashraf said that a lot of “good suggestions” came up for discussion during the moot which the PCB now intends to hold on a monthly basis in the future. During the meetings, there was a consensus on giving discipline the top priority.

“Everybody was convinced that we cannot improve our performance without having completely disciplined players in the national team,” said Ashraf. He said that it has been decided that in future the PCB will not show any leniency to a player involved in disciplinary problem regardless of his stature.

In a thinly-veiled criticism at fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, regarded by many as the bad boy of Pakistan cricket, Ashraf said that a player will have to put the team’s cause before anything else to stay in the squad.

He said that the board will also keep that in mind while awarding central contracts, especially in the slab system that previous gave priority to a player’s past performances. “We will ignore star value and award the contracts purely on the basis of a player’s commitment and importance to the team cause,” he said.

Ashraf said that the PCB think-tank also discussed the issue of appointing a vice-captain for the upcoming home series against Zimbabwe and Australia. An idea was floated during the Lahore moot, suggesting that the PCB should not appoint a vice-captain because there is no need to give skipper Shoaib Malik a deputy in a home series.

But Ashraf said that he and several other officials favour the idea of having a vice-captain. “We have to think of the future and try grooming a captain for the future,” he said. Experienced batsman Younis Khan was served as the vice-captain during the tour of India in November-December last year. But Younis has spoilt his own case by publicly expressing his desire to take over as captain from Shoaib Malik.

Previously, the PCB has tried pacer Mohammad Asif and opener Salman Butt in that role but failed to achieve the desired results. Speaking on the series against Zimbabwe, Ashraf said that the series would be held according to schedule and the PCB is trying to have the five one-dayers at the same venues as decided earlier.

Source:Cricket News

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